Historic Peterborough pub to close its doors for good

The pub building is one of the most historic in the centre of Peterborough and dates back to the 1700s.

By Ben Jones
Sunday, 19th June 2022, 5:00 am
The Wortley Almshouses.
The Wortley Almshouses.

On Sunday (June 19), Wortley Almhouses on Westgate will close its doors for the final time.

The decision has been made by the Sam Smiths Brewery in the past week and the pub will cease trading at the end of the weekend’s trading hours after it was decided that keeping it open was no longer cost-effective.

Two employees have been made redundant and another has left to find other employment but the brewery will be relocating landlords Alex and Ana Savage to run the Fox and Goose in Droitwich Spa, Worcestershire from Monday (June 20).

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It is believed that a covenant will prevent the building being used for any other purpose, therefore, it is expected that the pub will be boarded up and vacant.

Mr Savage, who reopened the pub in February 2019, after it was closed for many years, has been left saddened by the pub’s closure, stating that “there is no pub like The Wortley Almshouses and there never will be again.”

He added: “I’ve lost count of the amount of passport application forms, PIP forms and similar that I’ve signed to help our regulars get what they are entitled to. We’ve always tried to help them out and are pleased that so many chose to travel to the pub. Since we aren’t located right in a community, many of our regulars travelled on the bus to get here.

"We are grateful for their custom and it is with great sadness that we announce the closure of the pub. We will be sad to leave all our regulars, but we are embarking on a new adventure, courtesy of the brewery. We would like to thank everyone so much for their regular custom and for the constant support.”

The building itself contains a lot of history and was originally brought in 1744 by Sir Edward Wortley Montagu, Peterborough MP’s between 1734-1761; he also served as British Ambassador to the Ottoman Empire.

It was then designated as a workhouse and it is said that visiting the workhouse inspired Charles Dickens’ to write Oliver Twist.

When a new workhouse was built on the site of the now City Care Centre on Thorpe Road in 1837, the building was converted into an almshouse, to provide accommodation to the poor.

The building was almost demolished as part of the building of Queensgate in the 1970s but was saved and opened as a pub by Sam Smiths in 1981. The layout remains largely the same as when it was an almshouse.

Sam Smiths owns around 200 pubs across the country with most of these located in the north, around Yorkshire. The location of the Wortley Almshouses, being so far removed, from many of the company’s other pubs, is thought to have contributed to the closure.

The brewery’s pubs also have a strict reputation for being cash-only and not allowing mobile phones, music or swearing.

It was reported by The Independent in December 2020 that The Fox and Goose in Droitwich was closed after just seven weeks when brewery owner Humphrey Smith was left outraged when he overheard a customer use the F-word on a visit.